Martin Samuel now likes managers that criticise players, but wants everyone (other than him) to stop talking about gay footballers. Plus youth hostelling with Chris Eubank...
Arsene Wenger was fuming and seething, Ian Wright picks his mate, Martin Samuel takes on a straw man, John Cross reports on a 'revolt' and more...
The Daily Mail are one of several newspapers to suggest that Jack Wilshere could be left out of the England side to face Montenegro tonight. But they are the only newspaper to opt for this ridiculous hyperbole: 'The midfielder has been hailed as the future of English football and dropping him would represent arguably the biggest gamble by an England manager manager since Glenn Hoddle left David Beckham out of the opening 1998 World Cup game.'
No. Just no.
Try Steve McClaren switching to a previously untried 3-5-2 formation for a trip to Croatia in 2006 or naming Scott Carson in goal for the return match a year later. Or Fabio Capello putting Robert Green in goal for the opening game of the 2010 World Cup. And that's before we even consider Kevin Keegan.
But no, not picking an out-of-form midfielder with ten caps for a qualifier against Montenegro - that's the 'biggest gamble'. Anyone would think that the Daily Mail had been serialising Harry Redknapp's autobiography.
Elsewhere in the Daily Hyperbole, we're told that 'a nation will be staggered' if Daniel Sturridge does not start against Montenegro. Mediawatch suspects that a nation will mostly shrug.
There is some Grade-A nonsense from Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph, who writes that Roy Hodgson must pick Andros Townsend against Montenegro as a 'symbolic pick'. Because of course a must-win World Cup qualifier is exactly the right time for a 'symbolic pick'.
Mediawatch can only assume that Hayward has never actually seen Townsend play as he writes: 'Townsend is in form, quick, confident and plays with his head up, unlike so many recent England fliers, who have sprinted up cul-de-sacs or hit the first defender with their crosses.'
Had he seen Townsend play, he would have been watching an infuriating winger whose one, ineffective trick is to cut inside and twat the ball quite hard towards the goal. In six Premier League games this season, he has had a remarkable 26 shots without scoring a single goal. He has also, rather neatly, attempted 26 crosses; four have reached a teammate.
No goals, no assists, but at least he's had his head up whilst failing to score or create any goals.
And Townsend only knew to keep his head up when he was told by Andre Villas-Boas this summer...
"In pre-season he sat down with me and went through what I needed to do to improve," he said. "I'm now putting my head up and watching more for the run of the attacker before crossing the ball. This is something I have really worked hard on with the boss."
Six Premier League games after learning this amazing new tactic and he 'must' start.
Ian Wright Bingo
'Three Lions on his chest' - Tick.
'When I first picked up the shirt...tears came to my eyes' - Tick.
'Political correctness gone mad' - Tick.
That, Sir, is a full house.
The World Is Treating Me Bad...
Mediawatch was skim-reading Mr Grumpypants Steven Howard's column in The Sun, tutting that it was way too upbeat to warrant a mention. But then...in the 42nd paragraph...
'Let's not read too much into the fact that yesterday Hodgson was wearing a blue tracksuit top with what looked dangerously like a black armband sewn into the left sleeve.'
No. Let's not. You just couldn't help yourself, could you Steve?
'Despite United's uneven start to their campaign, Rooney has five goals and has earned rave reviews for his individual contributions,' writes Oliver Holt in the Daily Mirror.
Like this 'rave review' from Saturday's win over Sunderland on Holt's own newspaper's website in which the only mention of Rooney in the match report reads thus:
'Wayne Rooney had been given virtually nothing to feed off and his frustration boiled over when Gardner took the ball off him in midfield. As Gardner tried to skip clear, Rooney tripped him and was promptly booked by referee Chris Foy.'
He's in sparkling form alright.
Elsewhere in the piece, Holt refers to Rooney as 'the creator'. Would that be the same Rooney who is currently ranked 40th in the Premier League for creating goalscoring chances, according to Opta. Nine chances in six games, in case you were wondering.
Presumably you giggled along with Mediawatch on Thursday when Steven Gerrard flat-out refuted Harry Redknapp's claim that he had received an enthusiastic text from the England captain backing him as manager. "I didn't text Harry Redknapp's personal phone. I have never had his number," said Gerrard. Hmmmm, who to believe?
Flying rather more under the radar was this story from Thursday's serialisation of Redknapp's book in the Daily Mail...
'One of my favourite signings, and not just from my Bournemouth days, was a striker called Carl Richards. I took him from Enfield and he was a real one-off. He was a big lad, and looked more like Carl Lewis. I bought Carl for £10,000, went to pick him up from Enfield and while he went in to say goodbye to his manager, he left me with his mate.
''What are you signing him for?' said this kid. 'I'm 10 times better than him. I've got 26 goals this season, he's only got 12. I'm different class than him. Why don't you sign me?' I was worried. 'I can't buy you, I'm buying him,' I told Carl's mate, 'but I'll keep an eye out for you, don't worry.'
'So we took Carl and he was absolutely useless. He could run, but that was about it. We played about six games, couldn't win one. Carl was terrible. After about four games of this, he came to see me. 'I've got a mate,' he said. 'He was asking if he could have a trial. He's a striker, like me.' 'And is he as good as you, Carl?' I asked, suspiciously. 'No, he's not as good as me,' he said, 'but he's decent.'
''Well, tell him not to f***ing bother then,' I snapped, and that was the end of it.
'The following Saturday, we went to play Crystal Palace. 'My mate, the one who wanted a trial, he's playing for Palace today,' said Carl. 'Oh good,' I thought. 'No problem there then.'
'Anyway, three goals later I realised Carl wasn't much of a scout, either. His mate's name? Ian Wright, who went on to score 238 league goals.'
What a cracking story. We can hear Harry cackling as he tells it, ending with a 'facking football, eh'.
Except, well, Carl Richards signed for Redknapp's Bournemouth in 1986, a whole year after Ian Wright had joined Crystal Palace. Oh and Palace didn't play Bournemouth until the 1987/88 season...by which time this 'unknown' Ian Wright was deep into his third, very successful season with the Eagles.
Harry Redknapp's autobiography is out soon: Available in all good bookshops in the 'Fiction' department.
Tortured Intro Of The Day
'IT was not a hurricane that blew away San Marino, it was a Harry Kane' - it has to be Paul Jiggins in The Sun.
'I grew up believing that cigarettes and alcohol are a no-no for professional footballers, but there are no tablets of stone which say they are illegal' - Robbie Savage in the Daily Mirror. Erm, what? Does he think that laws of the land are written on stone tablets? Why are we not surprised?
Worst Headlines Of The Day
'OCH AYE THE ROO!' - The Sun.
'IT COULD'VE BEEN WAYNE McROONEY' - The Daily Mirror.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'The moment a Connecticut weatherman accidentally eats cat vomit live on air should serve as a warning to anyone hungry enough to eschew normal standards of hygeine and consume a morsel of food which has fallen on the floor.
'Scot Haney and his colleagues at the WFSB news channel were indulging in some on-air banter when Mr Haney bent down to eat some scraps of Grape-Nut - a popular US breakfast cereal - which he thought had dropped on the studio floor.
'As his co-presenters rib him over his less than salubrious habits, Mr Haney's expression turns from confusion to outright disgust. "They're a liitle soggy. And they taste like shoes," he remarks. A few moments later he interrupts his weather forecast to declare that he has not in fact eaten breakfast cereal.
'"Ladies and gentlemen, those were not Grape-Nuts that I ate. I kept finding more and more of it on the floor and I thought it was Grape Nuts because it looked just like it. My cat threw up and and I must have stepped in it..and that's what I ate," he said, showing viewers the sole of his shoe' - The Daily Telegraph.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Ian Wilson. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365,com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.